The Buddhist NGO Network (BNN) held the fifth of its five seminars, in a series titled "Buddhists Facing Disaster," on June 15 in a Buddhist temple in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. Forty-one people from BNN member organizations took part.Rissho Kosei-kai and the Niwano Peace Foundation are member organizations, and foundation was represented by Mr. Yoichi Noguchi.
Mr. Takashi Uchiyama, a professor at the Graduate School of Rikkyo University in Tokyo, gave a talk titled "Beyond the Disaster." He said two kinds of disaster struck northeastern Japan in March 2011 - natural and man-made.The natural disasters were the earthquake and tsunami, and the man-made one was the nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture.He said it is necessary to re-examine modern civilization in terms of the harm it might do in the future.
He said the Japanese used to live in communities centering on a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine, which formed their view of a society that cherishes the ties among not only the living but between the living and their ancestors and nature.Today, however, he said, society emphasizes the rights of individuals over communal ties, thus weakening society and creating economic and political deadlocks. He said Ueno Village, in Gunma Prefecture, where he lives, replicates the earlier kind of society.
Mr. Uchiyama noted a growing movement among Japanese young people to revive their country's traditional values. He emphasized that the two kinds of disaster points to the need to restore communal values to society.
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